Edit: Further in-house RPS testing is inconclusive. I've rolled back my Nvidia drivers to the previous release and now have a steady framerate (with Gameworks switched on and settings maxed) until I hit a Batmobile sequence, at which point I'm experiencing dips seemingly at random. Alec, on similar hardware, is using the latest drivers and having a better experience., though still has Batmobile problems. John is on AMD - we'll check back with him soon.
There was no pre-release PC code for Batman: Arkham Knight [official site] so I started the crusade through another long Halloween early this morning to bring you a full judgement as soon as possible. As I loaded the game, I spotted the "mostly negative" regarding Steam reviews and resolved to pay close attention to any stuttering, glitches or other technical issues. Close attention wasn't necessary.
Even half an hour into the game, I'm seeing the framerate fluctuate wildly, even during cutscenes. The benchmark test (which reports highs of 47fps even though the game itself is locked to 30) reckons my average fps is 38 but with single digit lows. Once the game starts, the framerate is about as steady as Harvey Dent's moodswings.
I'm running a GTX 970 on a quad core 3.5GHz PC with 16GB of RAM, using the latest Nvidia drivers (the ones that have Arkham Knight slapped all over them) and I tried running the game with all of the settings on max, including the fancy Nvidia smoke, rain and whatever else effects. Weirdly, textures can only be set to 'low' or 'normal' and the default settings were all low, including a resolution of 1280*720. I switched to 1920*1080 and started a new game.
As soon as the face of [REDACTED] appeared during the intro, the framerate plummeted to single digits. In a cutscene. A vaguely interactive in-engine cutscene but a cutscene nonetheless. The next scene is first-person perspective and everything was fine as long as I didn't look to the left, where I could see the streets of Gotham outside a window. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was the crowds, but looking out of that window brought the game to a near standstill. Only momentarily but enough to send me scurrying to the menu.
I disabled the Nvidia effects and tried again. There's a mild improvement but the framerate is still far from (ahem) rock steady whenever I'm moving or looking around.
When the game proper starts, things seemed to improve until I could see farther than half a city block. Gliding causes framerate whiplash.
Hopefully these are problems that can be fixed because right now, as a game that relies on both spectacle and precision timing, Arkham Knight might well be unplayable. Our advice would be to hold off on buying, whatever rig you might have, until the problems have been addressed. I'm going to dial all of the settings down to see if I can plug through the game that way and will keep a close eye on any developments. As is often the case, Neogaf has a thread full of people reporting problems and possible solutions that you might want to look at if you're in the same situation that I am.
John suited up and stepped into Arkham this morning as well, to see if his experience would match mine. It did and, being a far greater detective than I, he's gathered some video evidence.
Weirdly, that same sequence grinds to a halt for me when the camera pans around Batman for his close-up. Even the erratic nature of the framerate is erratic.